Maya was on her way to the wizard’s shack, deep in the woods. She was hoping the ancient mage would be able to save her mother from whichever sickness she was suffering. Maya didn’t look forward to meeting him, as there were so many rumors. But recalling how fragile and almost transparent her mother had looked, she clenched her jaws and continued.

Finally, she arrived at a dirty old shack. Crouched before it was the strangest man Maya had ever met. He was old, with a long grey beard, dressed only in maple leaves, and digging in the soil with his bare fingers. Maya knew she had found the wizard.

When she approached, the old man noticed her and rose.

“Welcome, fresh sapling, welcome to my humble abode. My name is Root. Now, what blissful rains brought you to my soil?”

“I was told that I could find a wizard here, Master Root,” Maya said.

“Root, is the name, just Root. I guess you can call me a wizard, although I prefer plant magician myself. But we can discuss that subject another time. Please come inside and have a sap.”

Maya followed the strange man inside. The interior was a perfect reflection of the man himself. The bed in the corner was made out of tree trunks, and the table and chairs were stumps. On a bookshelf, there were numerous volumes made of leaf parchment. Lots of strange objects littered another shelf.

Root pointed her to a chair, and offered a wooden mug containing a greenish fluid with a strong skunkcabbage scent. Maya politely accepted, brought it to her lips, and tried to ignore the foul stench while she took a sip. When the taste – even worse than its smell – hit her taste buds, she couldn’t help but spit it out.

“That wasn’t meant for drinking, young sprout! That was a powerful stain remover I thought would be handy around your home.”

Maya blushed and put the mug on the table.

“Now, my little dryad, what brought you here?”

“My mother is terribly ill, and I was hoping to beg you for a cure?”

Root paced around the room, and suddenly took one of the many objects from his shelves, and showed it to Maya. It was a strangely curved branch.

“Do you know what this is, young sapling?”

Maya shook her head.

“This is a rare piece of Boomerwood. It will always come back if you throw it away, look!”

He threw it out of the window, and waited for its return. When that didn’t happen, he coughed nervously and said, “Hmmm, must go looking for that later. But you have to see this one!”

He took another object, which looked like a stone gnome.

“This is a unique piece in my collection. A strange wizard I couldn’t understand sold it to me. It must be the only gnome ever petrified by a Basilisk. I believe he named it a Jagluradeer.”

He gave it to Maya to admire, and turned around looking for more. Maya looked at the stone figure from all angles, and noticed a label on the underside that said ‘IKEA’. She quickly put it on the table, and wondered what else Root was going to show her.

The wizard had a smooth object in his hands now, which he turned around and carefully studied. He seemed puzzled at what it was, and Maya heard him mumbling, “What is this now? I can’t remember where I got it. Is it a Firestone? A Kryptoniamond? A Dragon’s Tear?”

Suddenly, it dropped from his hands and cracked open on the wooden floor, a yellow fluid pouring out.

“Oh, my mistake, that was just an egg. I must have misplaced that.”

He suddenly opened his arms wide.

“Ah, welcome, fresh sapling, welcome to my humble abode. My name is Root. Now, what blissful rains brought you to my soil?”

Maya rolled her eyes, and whispered to herself, “Is that nutcase my mother’s last chance?”

“Ooooh nuts, I love nuts!” said Root, who started to sing an old song that Maya recognized as ‘The Mushroom and the Aster Bloom‘. She silently got up and retreated in the direction of the door.

“…And that’s why both are fungi!” Root ended in a loud falsetto voice. Then he suddenly faced Maya and spoke, “Of course I can help your mother.”

Maya froze with her hand on the doorknob.

“Yes, will help your mother, as you’re a good acorn to her. But not in that impractical way other wizards do. Root has his own methods.”

He walked outside, fiercely gesturing to follow. Maya was guided to a very ancient oak.

“Behold, the Holy Oak. Ancestral Mother of this forest. Only six of them left in this country. We will make contact with Her and ask for help. Quick, lay your hands on Her trunk!”

Maya put her hands on the massive trunk of the century-old tree. She felt some kind of presence inside the tree, and heard whispers in her head. Whispers promising all kinds of things if Maya would give Her her pollen. Maya wanted to give her pollen so bad, if she only knew how…

“Keep clasping the trunk!” Root shouted, and Maya jumped as she realized that she was waving her arms through the air and she quickly put them down.

Different images flashing through Maya’s head. Memories of the tree when it was younger, pictures of animals that visited Her. Suddenly Maya felt a glow flowing into her fingertips.

“The Tree has accepted you,” Root spoke, “your roots are now forever connected!”

The world blurred and Maya was thrown back, tumbling to the ground.

“Your mother will be cured now,” Root announced.

“That’s… fantastic! How is that possible? How did you do that?”

“The tree did, little rose bud. It uses a force that no one can see or imagine where its energy comes from. Yet it’s there, in spite of many wizards renouncing it, coming from a seemingly endless source.”

Maya had tears in her eyes, thankful for this strange, unknown, and seemingly unquenchable force that could possibly cure the world of all its diseases. She asked the old wizard what this energy was called.

“Obamacare, young sprout.”



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